Hackbridge, in Sutton borough, was relatively unknown until the arrival in 2002 of BedZED, Britain’s first large-scale eco-village.
This showpiece zero-carbon housing estate, shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize for architecture, triggered a spate of eco-projects which, according to the local council, are turning the area into the “UK’s first sustainable suburb, one of the greenest places in the country to live”.
Zone 4 Hackbridge is affordable territory for first-time buyers and young families who want a quick commute to central London, with trains to Victoria taking just 27 minutes.
New Mill Quarter is the biggest green development to date.
This new neighbourhood of 479 homes sits on the banks of the River Wandle and replaces a huge industrial estate. It boasts its own district heating system and is near running and cycle trails through 143-acre Beddington Park.
Apartment blocks have community gardens and planted walls – or “urban vegetation” – that help regulate air temperature, combat pollution, absorb rainwater and increase biodiversity.
Thimble Crescent, the latest phase, includes four-bedroom houses with gardens and terraces priced from £659,000. Apartments start at £311,995. Call Barratt on 0330 057 6666.